A shameful week to be a man

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John Birmingham tells stories. Most of them true.

June 18, 2013 – 8:11AM
Mostly I dig being a man. It’s awesome. And being a middle class white man? Holy crap. I don’t need to buy a lottery ticket because I won all the things just by turning up. But sometimes … I dunno. Sometimes I am ashamed to have a dick, and I’m not talking about that time I woke up in a crowded train carriage with a gigantic travel stiffy.

This last week, it’s been a shameful dick week.

I mean, what is it with you losers? Do you genuinely hate women? Or are you just too stupid to live and breed? I mean that literally. The gene pool would be better without you. Yes, Sattler, I’m looking at you. And your mate, Akerman. And that restaurant owner with the sub-moronic sense of humour. And the misogynist fools the Chief of the Army is talking to here. And that slobbering waste of human skin married to Nigella Lawson. And seemingly 95 per cent of the commuters on YouTube. And the army of dickless wonders stinking up Xbox Live. And the celebrated rapists of rugby league. And that soccer coach with the delightful Dark Ages twist on marital relations. And and and …

Well, you get my point.

Or you don’t, because you are a misogynist dickless wonder who thinks the last week is all just a feminazi PC plot, or even worse just a bit of fun, or just what everyone is saying anyway. That’d be you, Piers, that last one. At least Sattler had the nads and the lack of sense to front Gillard personally and destroy himself in an explosion of shameful stupidity. Your smarmy, weasel words on the ABC’s Insiders, basically gargling and spitting up Sattler’s word vomit all over again don’t even get the grudging Jackass points that his suicidal performance demanded.

Seriously. What is up with you people?

All of you.

Do you not have wives and daughters? Do you not love them and want the best for them? OK. Scratch that. In Saatchi’s case we already know the answer.

Maybe the way out of this strangely primitive cultural moment in which we find ourselves isn’t to talk to, or even consider the actions of the so-called men in question. Maybe it’s the rest of us have some ‘splaining to do.

Because the truth is the world is not solely populated by misogynists and homophobes and embittered, deeply stupid and potentially violent males. It’s also full of calmer, gentler, more intelligent and wiser men who know better than these fools and who are perfectly capable of standing them down. Men who want better for women because so many of the people they care most about in the world are women.

Where are these blokes when a man puts his hands around a woman’s neck and starts to squeeze? Where are they when some idiot demeans and disrespects a prime minister, not because of what she’s done, but because of what she is? Where are you guys? Because if you just stepped up and said no at the very moment that it’s happening, not later, but right then and there, some of this wretched dickishness might finally die out.

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Time for real men to show the boys how it’s done

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John Birmingham

JB imageMen need to play more video games. Real men, grown-ups. Not squirty, pizza-faced little boys screaming abuse into their headsets because Lara Croft is the only woman in the world who’ll let them stare openly at her boobies.

Real men, with a few years on the clock, some wrinkles, and enough sense to respect the gaming skills of a good player.

Real men, not idiot boys who’d disrespect the same player purely for her gender and the way it makes them feel uncomfortable about themselves.

Reading some of the ugly, misogynist crap coming out of the gaming community the last few weeks, I’m reminded why I don’t waste a lot of time in multiplayer. And when I do it’s almost always in private sessions with mates. The sort of mates who’d bite off their own tongues before calling a woman a ‘slut’, ‘bitch’ or ‘whore’. Either because she just pwnd them, or because she was, you know, just there. And she had a vagina, and stuff. A ‘vagina-n-stuff’ being about the full extent of some losers understanding of who and what constitutes a woman.

Anybody who spends any time playing video games online will be familiar with the crude ugliness of thought and rhetoric that characterises a lot of players, particularly younger, male players. It’s not just women, of course, who suffer abuse at the moist hands of these sad little gimps.Racism and homophobia are rampant as well. Taken together, they’re almost the defining characteristics of online game chat, a communications channel that makes the open sewer of most blog comment threads look like afternoon tea at the Algonquin Roundtable. If the industry and wider culture is truly interested in being taken seriously as an art form, be it high or mass art, the boneheaded stupidity of a significant part of its audience might be one of the biggest impediments. (Attend to the very first comment in the thread below, for instance. That is the opinion most outsiders have of gamers. The third comment, on the other hand, is a fine proof of concept for the proposition that you should never read the comments).

While anybody not confirming to the Nerdworld Hitler Youth gamer stereotype is fair game, the recent outbreak of unpleasantness, has centred mostly on women. You can hit up the link below to read about some of the more egregious examples.

It’s not all toxic and hateful, though. One of the bright spots in the recent nastiness was the positive response to one woman’s Kickstarter project looking to raise funds for a series of videos examining the portrayal of women in games; an examination undertaken from a feminist perspective. In spite of some really sickening pushback from the tiny penis lobby, the project was massively oversubscribed. Not all men hate women.

That’s what’s making me think it might be time to get my mates together, and get our game on. There’s some naughty little boys out there who need to be shown how to behave before they can call themselves men.

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